Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi attends a meeting with the House of Representative in Jakarta on Sep. 8, 2020. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

Religious Affairs Minister Tests Positive for Covid-19

BY :JAYANTY NADA SHOFA, LENNY TRISTIA TAMBUN, MARIA FATIMA BONA

SEPTEMBER 21, 2020

Jakarta. Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi has tested positive for the novel coronavirus last Thursday, becoming the latest member of Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's cabinet who fall ill to the Covid-19. 

"To date, the minister is in good physical condition. There isn't any worrying symptom," the minister's expert staff Kevin Haikal said in a statement on Monday.

The ministry's spokesman, Oman Fathurahman, confirmed Fachrul is currently isolating and resting at an undisclosed hospital. 

Fachrul has delegated his duties to Religious Affairs Deputy Minister Zainut Tauhid Sa'adi.

The minister also tasked several other officials to continue with the ministry's programs, particularly concerning Covid-19 prevention in religious education institutions and spiritual organizations, as well as ensuring the assistance funds goes to the rightful people.

For the past few weeks, the Religious Affairs Ministry has taken several safety measures, such as assigning most employees to work from home, Oman added. 

From Sep. 16 to Sep. 17, Fachrul went on a business trip to Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, where he interacted with several state officials, including West Nusa Tenggara Governor Zulkieflimansyah. During his visit, the minister also handed over operational assistance to several Islamic boarding schools in Lombok, according to online media Kompas.

State Palace Meeting

Presidential Secretariat Head Heru Budi Hartono said President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo had not met Fachrul in person for a month or two. A few moments later, Heru retracted this statement as it turned out the minister had attended a plenary meeting at the State Palace in Jakarta on Sep. 7.

"At the time, his swab test result was negative," Heru said.

The State Palace currently runs under strict health protocols. Only those with negative swab test results are allowed to meet the head of state. Jokowi also takes routine swab tests. 

All rooms at the State Palace have their doors opened, and air conditioners switched off, Heru added.

Not The First

Fachrul is not the first minister in Jokowi's current cabinet to contract the disease.

The first was Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi back in March. Budy successfully recovered after being hospitalized at Gatot Subroto Army Hospital (RSPAD) in Jakarta for 17 days.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo fell ill to Covid-19 earlier this month. The Great Indonesian Movement Party (Gerindra), in which Edhy was a member, said the minister had to be treated in the intensive care unit (ICU).

"It is true that Edhy Prabowo had Covid-19. Edhy Prabowo feels that he is in good health and eats well. Thank God, his swab test already came out negative," Gerindra's spokesman Sufmi Dasco Ahmad told Kompas last Thursday.

The virus outbreak is also starting to affect high-ranking officials in government bodies.

General Election Commission (KPU) chairman Arief Budiman recently tested positive for Covid-19. Also, KPU commissioners Pramono Ubaid Tanthowi and Evi Novida Ginting have caught the virus.

Last week, Jakarta lost its Regional Secretary Saefullah, South Meruya Subdistrict Head Ubay Hasan, Kelapa Gading District Head M Hermawan to Covid-19.

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